Last Updated on Monday, 03 September 2012 09:48 Posted by Clash Thursday, 06 September 2012 09:30
Reviewed by *Katie McCurdy for Legacy of a Writer
In April 1861, Lyndel Keim discovers two runaway slaves in her family's barn. When the men are captured and returned to their plantation, Lyndel and her young Amish beau, Nathaniel King, find themselves at odds with their pacifist Amish colony.
Nathaniel enlists in what will become the famous Iron Brigade of the Union Army. Lyndel enters the fray as a Brigade nurse on the battlefield, sticking close to Nathaniel as they both witness the horrors of war--including the battles at Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, and Antietam. Despite the pair's heroic sacrifices, the Amish only see that Lyndel and Nathaniel have become part of the war effort, and both are banished.
And a severe battle wound at Gettysburg threatens Nathaniel's life. Lyndel must call upon her faith in God to endure the savage conflict and to face its painful aftermath, not knowing if Nathaniel is alive or dead. Will the momentous battle change her life forever, just as it will change the course of the war and the history of her country?
I wasn’t sure how I would like The Face of Heaven,but since I thoroughly enjoy reading about the War Between the States, I took a bit of a gamble and dived in! For those historical fiction lovers who enjoy this time period, I recommend this book as an intriguing read that you will enjoy.
The thing that made The Face of Heaven so different and unique (at least to me) was that the two main characters of the book are Amish. And one fights as a soldier in the war and the other as a nurse. That fact, above all else, was why I decided to read this book—I mean, even a novice to Amish culture and beliefs, like myself, know that participating in a war is not on the Amish’s “okay to do” list!
The reason that these two participate in the war was very well plotted and carried out. I can see how Nathaniel would see it as his duty to help end slavery. I wasn’t expecting the politics that wound its way into the story, but (from what little I know) it was pretty accurate and I loved how Murray Pura touched on the fact that Lincoln would have left slavery intact, if it would have ended the war. That’s a fact I think few people realize or know.
Lyndel was a strong heroine who was easy to like. Her love toward fellow man and the sacrifices she endures during the war in order to help and save the lives of countless soldiers was extremely convicting. Lyndel was the “Amish Angel of Mercy”.
In the end, it all came to a happy (if sober) ending. Countless people lost their lives during the War Between the States, and Nathaniel and Lyndel experience their fair share of loss and pain. This is the first book I’ve read by Pura, and I enjoyed it and the historical details he put into The Face of Heavenwas much appreciated and admired.
* I reviewed this book for the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance. Thanks to the publishers, River North, for sending me a review copy. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.